Managing Diabetes | 6 Amazing Foods For Controlling Blood Sugar
Diabetes is a serious metabolic disease affecting the body's ability to regulate blood sugar; the CDC estimates that 1 in 3 Americans live with some form of diabetes, and that number grows every day.1 Diabetes affects everyone in different ways. Some of the most common complications include cardiovascular disease, nerve damage leading to loss of feeling in the limbs, depression, and even Alzheimer's disease. Needless to say, learning to manage your diabetes diagnosis is critical to your quality of life.
Although there is currently no cure for diabetes, you can manage the presenting symptoms by taking actions to help regulate your blood sugar levels throughout the day. Some strategies to help maintain more normal levels include exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, keeping up with prescribed medications such as insulin, and, most importantly, diet.2
When you eat meals throughout the day, your body breaks down the carbohydrates from that food and converts it to glucose, the simple sugar that fuels your metabolism. These sugars enter the bloodstream regulated by insulin, a hormone that controls when your cells accept the sugars to be burned or stored for later. Diabetes affects the body's ability to produce or use insulin effectively, causing abnormally high blood sugar levels. By choosing more nutritious foods that don't convert into simple sugars, you help your body to maintain appropriate blood sugar levels and mitigate the dangerous side effects.3
As is the case with any new lifestyle, it's essential to find new, better options you can also enjoy, or it will be challenging to stick to those changes over the long term. Here are six widely-loved foods that are also great options for helping to control your blood sugar levels.
Avocados are a creamy, savory fruit that's especially popular on the West Coast of the United States. They are an incredible source of healthy fats that aid in heart health and fiber that helps to control insulin spikes. Most importantly, they are very low in carbohydrates, which means they will have minimal effect on the body's blood sugar levels. Because they are high in fiber and healthy fats, they keep you feeling full for longer, which can also aid in weight loss.4
Bananas are a tasty, sweet fruit and make for a great addition to a conscious diabetes diet. Although they have naturally occurring sugars which give them their signature fruity taste, those sugars are low glycemic and don't cause large spikes in blood sugar. In addition, they are an excellent source of vitamins like potassium, vitamin B6, vitamin C, and more!5
Beans, including black, kidney, and garbanzo are excellent choices for anyone looking to regulate their blood sugar levels. Beans are very low glycemic index foods, meaning they don't noticeably spike your blood sugar levels. Furthermore, they are an excellent source of protein and fiber, which can help aid in digestion, feel full for longer, and even lose weight.6
Many people believe that tomatoes are high in sugar, but in actuality, they are a non-starchy vegetable. They can be considered an excellent addition to the diet of anyone with diabetes. Not only are they low in sugar, but they contain high levels of vitamin C, vitamin E, and potassium, which are essential for maintaining a nutritious, balanced diet.7
Of all the fruits, guava has one of the lowest glycaemic index scores; this makes it an excellent choice for anyone who wants to help control their blood sugar levels. Guava also has more than four times the amount of Vitamin C found in oranges, essential in helping to build up the immune system and keep you healthy.8
One of the primary challenges in maintaining a diabetes-friendly diet is finding healthy sources of starchy carbohydrates. Traditional vegetables like potatoes can spike blood glucose and send your blood sugar out of control. Sweet potatoes are low glycemic, however, and therefore don't have a notable effect on your blood sugar levels.9
Diabetes is a disease that needs constant attention to minimize its many symptoms, which can quickly spiral and get worse if left unchecked. Making healthy changes to your diet is the best way to help prevent your diabetes from getting worse, and it all starts with choosing the right foods. As you can see from this list, working to clean up your diet with diabetes doesn't have to mean you sacrifice tasty, delicious meals. There are a variety of options that taste great while also working to help you control your blood sugar levels.